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Older Adults Have Mental Health Issues, Too

Many people think of mental illness as something affecting teens and young adults, but fewer people realize that the elderly are just as likely to be experiencing problems with their mental health. Twenty million older adults have at least one mental health issue. Depression and chronic anxiety are the two most common.

A bigger problem is that many people with mental health disorders do not get the treatment they need. WHO and PAHO estimate that 66% of older adults fall into what’s called a “Treatment Gap” and receive no care for their mental health. This is concerning as 90% of older adults also reported not feeling that they get enough support, whether it’s from family and friends, their community, or the medical profession.

It might be that your dad is ashamed and doesn’t want to mention it to his doctor. He may have tried to bring it up and wasn’t taken as seriously as he expected. Either way, mental health is not something to ignore.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. These are the most common mental health issues and the things you can do to support your dad if he has any of them.


Anxiety is one of the most common, and it can be tied to excessive stress that’s not properly managed or past events that left lasting scars. There are many types of anxiety and some of the more common are:

  • Generalized Anxiety – Anxiety that happens every day that can be about anything.
  • Social Anxiety – Becoming extremely anxious in social settings, such as a holiday party or while shopping.

If anxiety isn’t addressed, it can build into panic disorder. A full-blown panic attack will hit and cause symptoms like a racing heart, chest pain, chills, feelings of detachment, tingling hands and feet, nausea, dizziness, etc. As many of the symptoms mimic a heart attack or stroke, it can be alarming and that fear only makes it worse.

When he’s dealing with anxiety, your dad may find it comforting to have people around more often. Try to make sure companionship visits are boosted.

Bipolar Disorder

Someone who is bipolar goes through good and bad periods where that person can be feeling fantastic and full of life one day and then experience a depressive episode the next. These waves of ups and downs can be exhausting and isolating.

Your dad will be prescribed medications to help balance his mood. He must take them each day.

Cognitive Impairment

Cognitive impairment is also a mental health condition. This includes things like Alzheimer’s where the brain’s deterioration affects mood, memory, and behavior.

In the early stages of dementia, there’s not much that needs to be done. It is a good time to address advance directives and estate plans. As the disease progresses, help with personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and meals are all important.


Depression is a disorder that affects how you think, feel, and act. Someone who is depressed may withdraw from others. You might notice your dad stays in bed all morning and doesn’t ever want to get out of bed. He’ll lose interest in activities that he used to enjoy.

He needs to see his doctor and have an honest conversation. If his doctor dismisses him, make sure you advocate for your dad to get proper treatment.

In-home care is a good way to provide your dad with the companionship and household help he needs as he focuses on de-stressing and improving his mental health. His caregiver can drive him to therapy sessions, support groups, and other counseling sessions.

He’ll also have a caregiver to accompany him on walks in nature, shopping trips, and time spent in his gardens. Learn more about these and the other benefits of in-home care.


If you or an aging loved one is considering in-home care in Phoenix, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

How Can Personal Care at Home Help Seniors with Diabetic Eye Disease?

Your dad has had diabetes for some time, and he’s starting to struggle more than he used to. His doctor says he’s losing his vision. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month and a good time to address your dad’s growing need for personal care at home.

What Causes Vision Loss?

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness among diabetics. It occurs when blood sugar levels are not carefully managed. The blood vessels in the eye may rupture and leak blood into the retina.

If this continues to happen and isn’t treated, fluid may start to leak into part of the macula. The macula swells with this excess fluid and it distorts central vision. Macular edema and diabetic retinopathy caused by diabetes can rob your dad of his vision.

In addition, people with diabetes have a slightly higher risk of developing other eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts. Both of which can impact your dad’s ability to see clearly over time.

Yearly eye exams are essential to helping your dad retain his vision. If he fails to do this, however, he could end up permanently blind.

Are There Signs to Look For?

What signs should your dad look for? Often, there are no clear indicators of eye disease until the vision is diminishing. He should watch for an increased number of floaters, bright flashes of light in the eyes, vision that changes from one day to another, and dark areas in his vision.

He should also pay attention to colors that don’t look as vivid as they used to. If he notices any of these or finds his vision is a lot blurrier than it ever was, he should make an appointment to see his eye doctor ASAP.

Difficulties With Personal Care That Happen With Vision Loss

As your dad’s vision goes, he’s not going to be able to see items within his home. He may be able to feel his way to a room, but he could trip over any items in his way. Judging the height of his bathtub’s side is an issue and could lead to him falling.

Your dad isn’t going to be able to distinguish a bottle of shampoo from the conditioner. He won’t be able to tell his shampoo and body wash apart. He’s not going to be able to see his face to safely shave. It’s all going to require an adjustment.

When your dad’s vision is diminishing, it’s important that you arrange the care services he needs for oral care, grooming, and hygiene. He may also need assistance with toileting while he adjusts. A personal care at home aide helps with all of that.

Personal care at home can help him take care of his teeth and gums, help him wash his body and hair, and get to the toilet on time. Call a personal care at home advisor to learn more.

If you or an aging loved one is considering personal care at home in Fountain Hills, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

Managing Vertigo in Seniors

If your parent has been complaining about the room spinning or feeling unsteady on her feet, she might be suffering from vertigo. Vertigo is a symptom of various things that could be occurring in a person’s body and causes someone to feel dizzy and off-balance while having a sensation that the room is spinning around. It can be a bit frightening the first time it happens, but vertigo is generally not serious.

Vertigo tends to occur more often in women and those who are over 65. If you are caring for an elderly parent, she might find herself experiencing vertigo at some point because 40% of the population will get a spell of it occasionally. Most attacks only last a few seconds or minutes and are often compared to motion sickness, where the room seems to be rocking, spinning, or tilting.

Some common vertigo causes can be:

  • Migraine headaches.
  • Some medications.
  • Prolonged bed rest.
  • Stroke.
  • Arrhythmia.
  • Diabetes.
  • Head injuries.
  • Shingles in or near the ear.
  • Peri lymphatic fistula (when inner ear fluid leaks into the middle ear).
  • Hyperventilation.
  • Low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) – a condition in which blood pressure decreases when a person stands up.
  • Ataxia, or muscle weakness.
  • Syphilis.
  • Otosclerosis (a bone growth problem affecting the middle ear).
  • Brain disease.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Acoustic neuroma.

If your parent is suffering from consistent vertigo, finding the cause of this nauseating symptom will be very important. There will be several tests your parent’s doctor can do to help determine the exact cause.

While caring for an elderly loved one, one of the biggest concerns may be your loved one stumbling and falling when vertigo sets in. It may be beneficial to hire an elder care provider to be on hand to assist your parent in household chores when vertigo sets in or help your parent traverse up and down the stairs, and even across the room when the vertigo is strong.

There are also several precautionary steps your parent can take to prevent or lessen the onset of vertigo.

  1. Your parent should take her time standing up, turning her head, and making any other movements that may trigger vertigo (such as looking up quickly). An elder care provider can help her stand up slowly if vertigo sets in.
  2. When vertigo sets in, sitting down as soon as she feels dizzy will help reduce the risk of falling. She should grab the elbow of someone who is around and have them walk her to the nearest seat and see if she can wait out the vertigo attack.
  3. Sleep with her head elevated by two pillows. Some vertigo attacks are triggered when lying prone in bed and can make getting out of bed difficult. If your parent still lives alone, even if she has an elder care provider come by during the day, she’ll need to develop techniques to get out of bed safely in the morning. The two pillow trick may prevent the vertigo from even setting in.
  4. If something needs to be picked up, encourage your parent to squat to pick it up instead of bending over.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Phoenix, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

Breaking Apart the Misconceptions of Dementia

It can be overwhelming for the person who is struggling with dementia. This condition affects memory, comprehension, speech, and much more. There is a lot of confusion behind this condition. Some of the confusion stems from people not fully understanding the condition. If you have an elderly loved one who has dementia, it is important to educate yourself and other family members. Keep reading to learn more about some common dementia misconceptions. By learning about these misconceptions, you can provide and get better dementia care for your elderly loved one.

Dementia is Part of Aging

Many people think dementia is just a part of aging. They believe only people over 70 get diagnosed with this condition. However, there are young people in their 30’s who also have a dementia diagnosis. This is called early-onset dementia. Some studies show that the odds of someone being diagnosed with dementia are higher if they have a brain injury or nervous system disease – no matter how old they are. In addition, some people believe that everyone gets dementia after they reach a certain age. This isn’t true. Not everyone will have dementia when they get older.

Dementia Only Affects The Patient

Dementia often interferes with a person’s daily tasks due to the symptoms the person experiences. Some of the issues that occur include the following:

  • Difficulty with motor control
  • Issues with reasoning

Trouble completing everyday activities

If your elderly loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it means they will most likely need assistance from family members or friends. If this is too much or you can’t provide all the care, you can also hire senior care providers to help.

Dementia Can Be Cured

Unfortunately, at this time, there isn’t a cure for dementia. This condition deteriorates a person’s brain cells. However, the symptoms associated with dementia can often be managed for a while with various prescription medications. For example, if your elderly loved one has dementia, their doctor might prescribe them medications to help reduce anxiety and depression.

People with Dementia Become Violent

As a family caregiver, it is important to understand that people with dementia can become frustrated, confused, and often angry. It is quite common for a person with dementia to have aggressive tendencies from time to time. You and your family members can help reduce the aggressive behaviors by practicing patience, using good communications skills, and trying to understand what is behind your loved one’s aggravation. If these behaviors become too much for you to handle or watch, professional senior care providers can help out.


There are many misconceptions about dementia. If you ever have questions about dementia, it is best to talk directly to senior care providers who are trained in this disease and your elderly loved one’s doctors.


If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Paradise Valley, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!